The Presidio (1987) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Tuna's notes

The Presidio (1988) is a mismatched cop whodunit with a better-than-usual cast which includes Sean Connery, Mark Harmon and Meg Ryan. Connery is the Provost Martial at The Presidio, a very old fort in the Northwest corner of San Francisco. Mark Harmon used to work for him as an MP. When Harmon roughed up an officer while arresting him for drunk and disorderly, Connery took the officer's side, and Harmon left the Army and became a city cop. When a female MP and two SFPD officers are murdered, it is a multi-jurisdictional investigation, and the two enemies must work together. To make things even more difficult, Harmon starts dating Connery's daughter.

Sometimes, viewers bring something which greatly increases their enjoyment of a film, and that was the case with me and this film. I am a big Connery fan, and this part feels like it was written for him. I also like Meg Ryan. The biggest thing to me, however, is the location. I spend a lot of time where this film was shot. In an early scene, they mention Fort Point, which is a very old fort under the south end of the Golden Gate. The murder takes place at an officer's club on the Presidio, a building I drive by frequently. The ensuing car chase, where the officers are killed, starts at the Arquello Gate, which is at the south end of the Presidio, and is the gate I most often use, as it is a nearly direct route to Wing Lee's Chinese Restaurant and Bakery, our usual lunch when we are in "The City." There are also two scenes in the veteran's cemetery at the North edge of the Presidio. In fact, I not only recognized all of the areas in the film, I knew most of the buildings. The Presidio is now mostly a national park, as is Fort Point. So, to me, watching the film is a wonderful experience.

For those with no predisposition to enjoy it, it is probably a competent but lackluster genre effort. There is nothing particularly remarkable about the plot or the ending, which, in fact, is predictable.


DVD Info


Book info

A Region 2 DVD, with the extra 15 seconds or so of nudity, can be found through the link below.


Play Time DVD aka Playtime (1994) Jennifer Burton


  • No major features
  • Meg Ryan's nudity has been cut from the Region 1 DVD (advertised far left)


In the Region 1 DVD there is no nudity

In the Region 2 DVD, Meg Ryan shows her breasts from the side for about ten seconds.

Scoop's notes

The Presidio is a pretty standard cop procedural involving mismatched partners forced to co-operate on a murder investigation. The "hook" of the film is that it involves overlapping jurisdiction between civilian and military justice, and the expected turf war is exacerbated by personal bad blood between the Army investigator and the civilian detective.

The investigation is headed up by a San Francisco cop (Mark Harmon) who used to be a military M.P., working under the very crusty old Lieutenant Colonel (Sean Connery) whose co-operation he now needs. The two men don't get along, based on a past incident involving a corrupt Colonel whom Harmon manhandled during an investigation. There are two other matters which complicate the plot further:

  • The evidence in the murder investigation is starting to point to the same sleazy Colonel who was responsible for Harmon's having left the Army in the first place. (Isn't that convenient?)

  • Harmon is hitting on Connery's daughter (Meg Ryan).


You probably won't have any trouble figuring out who the real villain is if you remember two key facts:

1. Most trite murder mysteries end up pointing the finger at the character who seems least likely to be guilty.

2. The rule of economy of characters in formula screenplays says that no random characters exist in a film or play - they will eventually have some plot-related purpose.

When you have those two factors added together, you can be sure that if a police investigator has an incredibly loveable old best friend who gets a lot of screen time for no reason, you can bet that the loveable old codger is really Moriarty.


Although the murder mystery is not engaging, the chemistry between Harmon, Ryan, Connery and Jack Warden makes the film an easy enough - if totally unoriginal - watch. You won't remember much about the film a few days after you watch it, but it won't cause you any major pain either.


The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus: two stars out of four. Roger Ebert 1.5/4, BBC 3/5

The People Vote ...

  • It grossed $20 million in the USA.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. It's a borderline watchable cop procedural with a touch of "mismatched buddy," spiced by a forbidden romance.

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